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Thursday, November 2, 2017

How counterpunch soft peddles white supremacy in the White House

The US Civil War was about ending slavery, no matter what some people might think it was about, either then or now. The last US presidential election was about denying white supremacists the White House, no matter what some people might think, either then or now. Like Democracy Now, the Left publication counterpunch was also on the winning side of that fight. In election year 2016 counterpunch was focused on denying Hillary Clinton the White House, and they succeeded.

To pursue this strategy, they had to seriously downplay the virulent white supremacy of Hillary Clinton's main opponent, so now that that strategy has help to put a white supremacist regime in the White House, it is not surprising that they are downplaying that result, and this is pretty much what Ron Jacobs does in a counterpunch piece Wednesday titled The Missouri Compromise and General Kelly.

The title and timing tell us that this article is counterpunch's response to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's message on Fox News Sunday to Trump's white nationalist base that he supports their basic views on the Civil War and slavery. He is telling the world, as if it again needs repeatings, that there is a white supremacist regime in the White House.

White supremacy was the unifying feature of the Trump candidacy from the moment he came down the escalator to call Mexicans rapists. It is now the key feature of the executive regime that candidacy has put in the White House. Virtually every question this White House has obsessed about, from immigration to banning Muslims, from fighting ISIS with tremendous loss of civilian life to confronting the Koreans with a threat of nuclear holocaust, from encouraging police to commit more Freddie Grey style killings, to demanding the firing of football players who take a knee to protest those killings, from calling a white mass murderer "deranged," to calling a Muslim one "an animal," from greatly escalating the US war on Africa, to dissing an African American Gold Star family and the African American congresswoman who came to its aid, and from seeing "good people" among the neo-Nazis and plainclothes Klansmen in Charlottesville, to seeing "honorable men" fighting to preserve slavery, this White House is committed to white supremacy in a way that has not been seen in living memory. One would think that even counterpunch could finally see that. Apparently not.

If Ron Jacobs was a Marxists, I would probably point out his error in "there is nothing moral about owning another human being" followed by "That truth is immutable." Marxists know ancient slavery, as practised by every civilized people as they emerged from primitive communism, was a necessary step in human development, unlike the slavery practised much latter under capitalism. Since he is not a Marxist, I'll let that go.

However, I can't be so forgiving about what sounds like a concession to one of Kelly's heroes, namely the claim the Robert E Lee was a man of honor because that is another piece of white supremacist mythology that must be disassembled and destroyed. Why does Jacob say "even if Lee was an honorable man?" He wasn't! Since clearly more education is needed on this, let me add to the stories I recalled in Dotard Trump's Chief of Staff preferred slavery to the Civil War!, that included the recounting how Lee personally whipped a girl when his slaver-whipper refused, this story about what a reporter found upon visiting Lee's plantation at the war's end:
An Inquirer reporter described the Lee slaves as "ragged, dirty, and the smallest nearly naked." Few had ever been off the plantation their entire life. "There were all sorts of darkies there," one soldier noted, "stalwart field hands, old worn out men … "Topsies" carrying buckets of water on their heads, strong-limbed boys, and little toddlers running around [barely clothed]." It is no wonder the Lee slaves "were a happy set of darkies when they learned that they were free."
The first part of this counterpunch article indulges in a history lesson about the Missouri Compromise, which, in anycase, wasn't the compromise Kelly was talking about. This history of slavery barely touches upon legacy of racism it was intertwined with before it finally gets to the current situation:
The current attempts among various extremist elements to revive the ideology of the Nazis and of US slave-owners is testament to the need for white supremacy to be refuted. The fact that this ideology is being defended by two of the most powerful men in Washington, DC is some cause for alarm. Not only has Donald Trump tweeted out veiled support of the slavers’ heritage in his messages of support for Republican Ed Gillespie, Trump’s chief of staff, General Kelly recently told FoxNews reporter Laura Ingraham that the reason the US Civil War occurred was because there “was a lack of an ability to compromise.”
On a related matter, a recent poll of US military members acknowledged the presence of white supremacists in all branches of the military.
Here he does touch upon the three important aspects of the current situation and how it may be the harbinger of a fascist seizure of state power, but he leaves them disjointed and impotent. Once again counterpunch is disarming us to the real danger.

The first group, often referred to as "Trump's base" is that ~30% of white Americans who are more or less consciously racist, even if they hide it in the current environment, along with a handful of non-white opportunists that are rewarded for helping them hide it. This is the group Trump speaks to. This is the essential ~30% Trump needs to seize power and start the terror, and this is the ~30% the "various extremist elements" Jacobs refers to, are working hard to agitate and organize. As the rally in Charlottesville, and our own experiences in Santa Monica have shown, they are having more success than we would like to admit and they enjoy the active support of the White House.

The second group is those "white supremacists in all branches of the military," to which I would add, white supremacists in all departments of police. So we have a strong base for a fascist/racist takeover in the armed organs of state power, supported by a sizable minority of the population. This was already the dangerous mix that existed in the United States before certain forces on the Left started giving backhanded support for a white supremacist takeover of the White House.

That is the problem we currently face. It is much more serious than "this ideology is being defended by two of the most powerful men in Washington, DC." More than a "cause for alarm," this threatening situation must become a call to action. Now that these fascists have more than one foot inside the door of state power, its going to take a lot more than weak words "for white supremacy to be refuted."

By Clay Claiborne

If you are in the area:

Join us for the this Sunday, 5 November 2017, for the November meeting of the Santa Monica Committee for Racial Justice at Virginia Avenue Park [2200 Virginia Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404]. We will have both de-escalation training and safety training review at 4:30 pm. Our CRJ Singing Group will meet at 5 pm. We will all gather as we have done, on the South side of the Library. (FYI: This month, our guest singing group leader will be Linda Alvarez!) The works runs from 6 to 8:30 and is a potluck as always. Here is the info about the workshop. Please invite your friends! A panel discussion about issues > that contribute to mass incarceration in the U. S. and what is being done & > can be done in California and at the federal level to cut back on this > heavy, racially inequitable drain on our human and capital resources. > Panelists will include Jayda Rasberry who is working against the expansion > of jails & prisons, Santa Monica native & transitional advisor Bert Cole and > other voices of personal experience with the unjust system that leads to > mass incarceration"

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

Click here for my posts on the 2016 US Election
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya


  1. Only in Carson's mind could my piece calling out the white supremacist mindset of the trumpists be considered soft-pedaling the racism of the White House. Then again, if Kelly wasn't including the Missouri compromise in his comments, like Carson claims, why would he use the word at all. As for me being a marxist, let me put it this way, Marxism informs my understanding of the world more than other philosophies, but if I have to meet the criteria of Mr. Carson to be a marxist, then I guess I am not a marxist. As for Counterpunch, let me remind the reader: Counterpunch is not a party rag, it attempts to represent the views of many on the Left. Its editors disagree with their contributors. Consequently, attempting to assign a particular viewpoint to the journal guarantees one will be proven wrong. Mr. Carson's apparent blindness to this aspect of Counterpunch because of his support for the not as racist Hillary Clinton is unfortunate.

    1. BTW, your suggestion that Robert E Lee may have been an honorable man, got me to do some digging. It seems that Lee kept detailed "Slaver Ledgers," although they are rather difficult to get readouts from, the people controlling them being rather protective of his legacy, because they paint a very different picture than that of the Marble Man on his horse Traveller. That is white supremacist legend. Everybody knows the name of his horse, nobody knows the name of even one of his 200 slaves. I hope to do a more detailed post of this material later in my blog, but here are some tidbits:

      It is generally conceded that during the Civil War, R E Lee captured free African Americans in the North and sent them down South to slavery. What his slave ledgers reveal is that he also did this before the war. As a plantation owner, he would regularly pay bounty hunters to go up North to capture runaway slaves and free men and women [think 12 years a slave] to work on his plantation at Arlington. Notably, some of the free young women captured in the north and enslaved on Lee's plantation where described in the ledgers as "white looking." Lee often "disciplined" [ =tortured ] the slaves himself. In the family's honored tradition, Lee's father had a young pregnant slave hung for the crime of striking the man whipping her. I'm afraid your image of an honorable Robert E Lee needs to be buried along with all the other white supremacist garbage.

    2. There may have been some confusion over who wrote this post due to my failure to sign it. For that I apologize. I have corrected that now. No one named Carson had anything to do with it.

      Now to the matters of substance.

      Do you know who Bob Mercer is? He use to me the CEO of Renaissance Technologies. He was forced to step down yesterday because an October Buzzfeed expose made his association with what you refer to as "various extremist elements [trying] to revive the ideology of the Nazis and of US slave-owners." Some say he is the real billionaire behind the Trump campaign. He is also the big money behind Breitbart, Bannon and Yiannopoulos. He was forced to resign yesterday because his connections to the most "extreme elements" of what is euphemistically called "the alt-right" became public.

      My point is that what we are facing here is a white supremacist cabal that is being centrally organized from top to bottom. They have captured the White House. They have pretty much taken over one of the major political parties. As you pointed out, they are already strong in the military. As I pointed out, they are also strong in the police. It's no accident that Trump has surrounded himself with white nationalist generals. They are agitating and organizing their mass base for the type of attacks we've seen in Santa Monica, where the local racists think they have a White House connection, and they may well have in Stephen Miller, who writes Trump's speeches and use to work for Jeff Sessions, and is from Santa Monica. We are now in a very dangerous period because this cabal is positioning itself for an illegal and fascist seizure of power at the first opportunity.

      So, yes Ron, when you overlook all of this and instead point only to white supremacy "being defended by two of the most powerful men in Washington, DC" as "some cause for alarm," you are telling us what we already know. That is why I say you are soft peddling white supremacy in the White House.

      And you are still soft peddling white supremacy in your comment above. You think you should get kudos for "calling out the white supremacist mindset of the trumpists." What about calling out the white supremacist ACTIONS of the Trump cabal? These actions are leading to deaths, in Iraq, in Syria, in Africa, even parts of the United States like Puerto Rico. Soon I fear this black plague will spread. Actions speak louder than words, but you don't even point to their words, you point to their "mindset," and you wonder why I say you are soft peddling the question?

      My criteria for being a Marxist involves actually applying the Marxist method, which is dialectical materialism, its view of history is historical materialism. Saying "nothing moral about owning another human being" is an immutable truth, is another thing entirely, known as philosophical idealism.

      I know that counterpunch is a rag that doesn't belong to any party. However, I do think the authors share a common "mindset," to use your happy phrase. Maybe it secretly belongs to a Group Of Parties, who knows? But I think I'm on safe ground to say it campaigned hard against Hillary Clinton last year and won. That doesn't make me a Clinton supporter

  2. Counterpunch is a Querfront >> http://paulocanning.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/dont-link-to-counterpunch.html

    1. Thanks Paul,

      Sadly, many of those that are suppose to represent the Left on counterpunch are really pushing a right-wing agenda. Maybe they should rename it Alt-punch, or in consideration of the real news they refuse to publish - SpikedPunch.